There are a lot of people that don’t care for vegetables, including my former self. It’s not a surprise that many of those people end up with weight control problems. And unfortunately, when the time comes to try and lose weight, many of these same people look for a diet without vegetables.
How do people go their whole lives paying very little attention to an enormous food group like vegetables? I don’t know, but I did.
Yes, from the time when I was a child up to a ripe age of 43 years old, I managed to avoid vegetables unless they were piled on a pizza or stuffed in a hamburger or burrito. It wasn’t as if I HATED veggies, but they had no recurring role in my daily diet. They were just accessories to the other “real” foods.
Sadly, I ended up almost 500 pounds by skipping the vegetables and opting for the high calorie choices.
With the weight problem came a slew of weight loss attempts using various diet programs over the years. I’d always start my weight loss efforts by searching for a new diet without vegetables, but those were pretty rare. The ones I had tried (basically no/low carb diets) failed hard.
Of course, the many diets I had tried that allowed veggies (lots of veggies) turned out to be a real chore. I’d force myself to eat something I had already made up my mind that I didn’t like. More failure.
Like many things in life, sometimes what you need is also what you work hard to push away. In my case, it was the veggies!
Solution to a big appetite? Vegetables!
The two big problem areas for an overweight veggie-skipper are appetite and calories.
If you're not eating vegetables, you're likely eating higher-calorie foods; and if you're over weight, you're likely eating too much. Vegetables can be a solution that feeds the big appetite without piling up the calories!
Vegetables turned out to be the secret weapon that I used to lose over 100 pounds within 1 year. Instead of pushing veggies away I learned to embrace them and use them to my advantage.
Of course, I didn’t just go from not liking veggies to loving them over night. It took some strategy and some helpful cooking methods… along with a decent collection of spices!
Ways to Make Vegetables Taste Good
Most of my life when I thought of vegetables, I imagined chewing on a raw, dry carrot. I don’t why that image seemed to stick with me for so long. Perhaps it was all of the Bugs Bunny cartoons I watched as a child. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a fond memory because I always considered carrots as rabbit food. Damn, it probably was Bugs Bunny!
Little did I know that there were all kinds of recipes and preparation techniques for veggies that results in nothing short of delicious!
Add the Spices
Spices definitely make the difference with veggies. Actually, since I started eating veggies in my diet I’ve developed a very respectable spice collect! I now use herbs and spices when preparing all kinds of foods, but they really make a big difference in taste when applied to veggies.
There are SO many spices that are available, and honestly, I've never tried any that I absolutely hated. It's all personal preference. I find that some don't seem to add much flavor while other really pack a flavorful punch.
The regular players in my current daily cooking are: paprika, cumin, garlic, curry, cayenne and crushed red pepper.
Want to talk about easy, healthy cooking? Good, roasted veggies are exactly that!
My favorite way to roast couldn't get much easier:
- Rinse and then chop the veggies
- Add a little cooking oil to a cooking sheet
- Add the veggies to the cooking sheet and mix them around the oil
- Apply spices
- Place in an oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes
(As seen in the above picture)
Of course, I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not a skilled cook, but I know what's tasty, and these are damn tasty!
Roasting works for so many vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, sprouts, carrots, jalapenos, bell peppers, etc. All of those are a favorite of mine.
Better yet, roasting makes for a super easy way to cook a lot of food for meal prep during the week!
Combine with Other Foods
For most of my life veggies were just the added “accessory” to my food. I'd eat them, but they weren't the star of the plate. I'm talking about greasy burgers, loaded pizzas, mega-nachos and stuffed burritos, etc. That's how I'd eat veggies. However, after eating all of that garbage, do the veggies really make any difference in terms of weight loss effort? Nope.
That’s not to say veggies can’t be strategically combined with HEALTHY options that add bulk to the plate without a lot of additional calories. Foods like omelettes, fajitas, chicken or steak entrees/salads, or simply as a side portion. Veggies can absolutely be the rock star of the plate, if you let it.
To a dieter that's reducing calories, veggies definitely go a long way in making you feel like you’re still eating a good portion of food. And prepared properly, your taste buds won't miss a thing! You may even curse the day you looked for a diet without vegetables!
Add Some Sauces/Oils
Adding sauces to veggies is an excellent idea. Careful though, some sauces are very high in calories.
Some of my favorites are honey (most favorite), Extra Virgin Olive Oil (second favorite, for salads) and then there's the light ranch. Use in moderation and the minimal amount of calories that are added are well worth the extra taste.
Ever try honey on roasted veggies? Amazingly good!
So how do you go from looking for a diet with very little vegetables to actually craving vegetables on a daily basis? If you're anything like me (and I hope not!) then you've likely spent a long time conditioning your body to believe that vegetables are not “real” food. You may even have trouble believing that you could ever really “get full” eating rabbit food (veggies).
In the end, we are all creatures of habit, and our habits are formed by our repetitive behaviors. If you spend your life eating junk and firmly believe that healthy food isn't real food then you will develop unhealthy habits and cravings that alight to that thinking. I certainly did.
Forget looking for a diet without vegetables! You're likely already on one. And it's very unlikely that it's just a coincidence that weight management is now an issue.
Embrace the veggie! Get to work on conditioning your body and mind to develop new, healthy habits!
Here's another article I wrote that further discusses the veggies that I've grown to crave: